This morning my bus was detoured over mile before I arrived at the South Loop Hotel to report for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Anyone who drove or took public transportation hit a detour by street closures for the Marathon.
This was the 34th year for the Chicago Marathon and with 45,000 registered runners and an estimated 1.7 million spectators watching the race throughout Chicago, it is our largest one day sports event.
More than 12,000 volunteers pitch in on race day to support the runners, manage course traffic and staff hospitality and cheer stations. My role today was as a course marshal on Wentworth Avenue in Chinatown, between Cermak and 23rd place near the 22 mile marker. Having marshaled at the Chicago Triathlon I felt I was prepared for today.
There were several of us stationed on each side of the street and our primary responsibility was to keep spectators off the street to prevent confusing or obstructing runners, and watch for runners in distress. We provided information about the race to spectators and tried to guide pedestrians safely across the course.
The weather was warmer than ideal and there was a yellow flag on the course indicating a moderate risk for runners. The elite runners and wheel chair racers came through without incident. It was truly inspiring to see runners of all ages run past and I cheered them on almost the entire time.
After five hours of corralling the crowds, shouting, waving and clapping I headed to the finish line and after race party. It was an exhausting day with no break so I hydrated, ate a sandwich and listened to the band for a while before heading home.
This was number 45 and now five to go!